ED likely to close National Herald case for lack of evidence

New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) In a huge relief to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is likely to close the National Herald case.

The ED has decided to close the case due to lack of substantial evidences against both Congress leaders, sources said on Monday.

Both leaders were summoned by a trial court on June 26, 2014, following Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy’s complaint accusing both of cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring the ownership of the now-defunct English daily National Herald.

Congress treasurer Moti Lal Vora, senior party leaders Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and telecom engineer Sam Pitroda were also summoned by the court on August 7, 2014.

The party leaders had moved the high court on July 30, 2014, against the trial court order. On August 6, the high court stayed the summons issued against them.

Swamy alleged misappropriation of assets worth Rs.2,000 crore of the National Herald newspaper.

Reacting to the development, Swamy said, “There has been political influence from the Congress to close the National Herald case.”

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi are principal shareholders in a company set up to relaunch National Herald, the Congress mouthpiece begun by Jawaharlal Nehru way back in 1938.

A private non-profit company ‘Young Indian’ was formed in March 2011, with Sonia and Rahul holding 38 percent shares each, with the specific aim of taking over the liabilities of Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL), the parent company which owned National Herald and its Urdu version, Qaumi Awaz, all with money spent from the Congress coffers.

The two newspapers folded up on April 1, 2008. AJL’s liabilities of Rs.90.21 crore have been taken over by Young Indian for Rs.50 lakh, the entire amount paid by the Congress.

Another Rs.1 crore, it is learnt, has been spent by Young Indian in renovating the newspaper’s headquarters, Herald House, at 5A, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg. This amount too has been funnelled by the Congress as loan.

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